Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 30, 2011

Charity gala shines bright on a starry night

Pleasanton North Rotary raises more than $70,000 for local charities

by Jeb Bing

Pleasanton North Rotary's focus on charities close to home was the formula for this year's success of the club's "A Starry Night" benefit, which raised more than $70,000.

More than 200 guests attended the 23rd annual dinner, dance, raffle, and charity auction at Casa Real, Saturday, Sept. 24. Their support will help fund more than 200 hours of therapy for children with autism and other early childhood development problems addressed at Dublin's School of the Imagination and Happy Talkers.

Other Tri-Valley programs benefiting from the event include REACH, a housing program for special needs adults; Pleasanton Gardens, an assisted living program for retired Pleasanton residents; Open Heart Kitchen, providing meals to the needy, Relay for Life, supporting cancer survivors; Camp RYLA and Rotary Interact encouraging youth leadership development; and programs supporting active and retired members of the U.S. military.

"I am always impressed with the way this community comes together," said Ronda Henstorf, president of Pleasanton North Rotary and chair of the "A Starry Night" event.

"The economy is very challenging," she said. "However, we were able to pull the community together and have a successful year."

Charlene E. Sigman, co-founder of School of Imagination and Happy Talkers, thanked PNR for supporting fund-raising efforts for the construction of a permanent school in Dublin opening its doors in October.

"You have helped us through a challenging journey to make this school a reality," she wrote in a prepared statement. "Thank you once again for always being there for us and believing in our dream"

A Starry Night will also help international programs. PNR has distributed more than 5,000 wheelchairs in Central and South America through the Wheelchair Foundation and the monies raised at this event will allow us to continue this support. Additional funds will assist El Oasis Orphanage in Mexico, a new computer literacy program for elementary schools in Bali, Indonesia, and on-going efforts by Rotary International to eradicate polio.

Mark Ibanez, sports director of KTVU-TV, served as master of ceremonies. East Bay rock group Public Eye provided musical entertainment, and Frank Hanna was the auctioneer.

Major event sponsors included Big O Tires of Pleasanton, Complete Business Systems, Green Leaf Partners, The Noonan Family, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Ritter Investments, Sierra Graphics, Wealth Management Associates, and Wells Fargo. Another 26 merchants and organizations and 49 individuals donated auction items.

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